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Ruby Ridge


On this day in 1992 the siege of Ruby Ridge ended when Randy Weaver and his children surrendered to the US Authorities after an 11 day stand-off. His wife Vicki, 13 yo son Sammy and and the family labrador were dead, as was US Marshall Billy Deegan. Randy was shot through the arm. The Weavers lived on a remote mountain called Ruby Ridge in a Northern Idaho county which was described as a place where "a blurring continuum of home schoolers, Christian survivalists, apocalyptic, John Birchers, Posse Comitatus members, constitutionalists, tax protesters, Identity Christians, and neo-Nazis" could find both one another. The family were 'preppers', they were convinced the world was ending and it was their Christian duty to wait it out for the return of Jesus and until then any government official was a tool of satan and should be resisted. In 1990, the federal AFT had evidence Weaver was selling illegal firearms and offered him a deal to inform on the local Aryan Nation groups or face prosecution. He refused the offer and so a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Because of the remoteness and Weaver's habit of sending his armed kids out to meet any visitor, the AFT were reluctant to arrest him but in 1991, they managed to grab him by posing as a stranded motorist near his home. Weaver skipped bail and holed up on the mountain from where he sent a stream of letters and affidavits to newspapers and court officials warning that they "will not bow to your evil commandments...whether we live or whether we die.". Press figures ranging from Geraldo Rivera to reporters for the Los Angeles Times requested interviews with the Weavers and the Government were made to look ineffective. US Marshals eventually set up surveillance on the house and things came to a head in Aug 1992 when young Sammy and a friend came across some Marshalls hiding nearby in the woods. Sammy Weaver; the dog, and US Marshall Deegan were shot - in disputed circumstances. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, including its most elite snipers, arrived in Idaho early the next morning and because of fears for the young childrens' safety they were instructed that if they observed an adult carrying a weapon, deadly force "can and should" be used to take them out. The next day as some of the family left the house to see to the body of Sammy, a sniper shot Randy through the arm. He ran back through the door and as the door opened the sniper fatally shot Vicky.

The siege ended when when Randy agreed to speak with Bo Gritz, a former Green Beret and proponent of right-wing views who was then running for president. In the property were found fourteen guns (including two loaded with armor-piercing bullets) and 4,500 rounds of ammunition. Eventually at a trial, Weaver was acquitted of all charges except failing to show for the original court case. In 1995, a civil suit brought by the Weaver family against the United States was settled, with the government agreeing to pay $3.1 million in compensation for the deaths of Vicki and Sammy Weaver. The FBI's top agent at Ruby Ridge, Gene Glenn, said of the events on the mountain: "We are very sorry....There are no winners in a situation with all this sadness."

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